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Much like client-focused specialists in any industry, financial services professionals depend mainly on the perception and level of trust surrounding their name, particularly when generating business and keeping pace with the competition.
Your financial services reputation not only engenders the credibility needed to attract new prospects but strengthens trust and loyalty among existing clients, ensuring they look to your company for guidance, advice and, ultimately, value over the long haul.
Building a trustworthy reputation in the financial services industry begins with a solid, proven approach to customer service and client communications. But in the digital age, it must also include a coordinated and strategic accounting of your online presence, especially the online reviews, platforms, and digital profiles consumers use to research your company.
Below, I explore best practices to help you uphold your company’s reputation and foster trust among clients and across the financial services field.
Prioritize transparency and clear communication
Focusing on effective and open client communications sets the stage for a strong brand reputation, providing a solid foundation for positive, lasting client relationships. Prioritizing clear and transparent communication at all touchpoints is essential for nurturing trust and reinforcing the sense of reliability clients need to stick around for the long term.
Whether it’s discussing financial strategies, explaining terms and conditions, or providing updates on investments, it’s crucial your clients fully understand the information you’re conveying. It also helps to avoid using industry jargon (when possible) and encourage questions that facilitate open dialogue. More often than not, a healthy client-advisor relationship can only survive when communication is clear, complete, and convenient.
Set realistic expectations
Setting realistic expectations at the outset is essential for managing client perceptions of your services and your advisory firm. Instead of overpromising or guaranteeing unrealistic returns, it’s critical to be honest about potential risks and rewards associated with different investment options right from the beginning.
In my experience, clients who feel informed and confident about what you’re doing and how you’re pursuing their objectives are generally far more likely to trust your advice and remain loyal to your company. They’re also much likelier to speak positively about your company among loved ones and across online review platforms.
Be timely and responsive
There are few financial services companies, or firms of any industry, for that matter, that are immune to client complaints, especially with so many online platforms for consumers to air their grievances.
When faced with a bad review or complaint, it’s crucial to approach the situation professionally and from the client’s point of view. Even if the client’s account of things doesn’t really add up, actively listening to their concerns, being apologetic, and working toward a prompt resolution tend to be the best ways to mitigate the issue and prevent it from getting worse down the line.
Replying to reviews politely and with a solutions-based mindset can turn a negative experience into a positive one. And when that exchange is done online, it has the potential to show others you take the client experience seriously and will do whatever is needed to make things right.
Seek out feedback whenever possible
It may not seem intuitive, but encouraging clients to provide feedback on their experience with your financial services company can be an effective way to combat negative feedback and boost your rating across online review sites. When done right, actively seeking feedback at critical client touchpoints – and on your terms – helps reduce future surprises from popping up in the online review process while allowing you to better steer the brand conversation in your favor.
You can request feedback in any number of ways, including through surveys, follow-up emails, or one-on-one discussions. Actively listen to their suggestions, comments, and concerns, and continually use this feedback to improve your services. Demonstrating a commitment to listening and improving based on client input can bolster your company’s reputation.
Leverage client testimonials to your advantage
Positive client testimonials provide a compelling tool for promoting your value and strengthening your financial services reputation. Testimonials offer invaluable social proof that tends to resonate with consumers, and sharing that glowing feedback on your website, in marketing materials, and across social media channels is a great way to maximize its impact on your audience and your brand. Spreading the word by promoting authentic testimonials helps build credibility and instill confidence in prospects seeking your expertise.
Monitor online reviews carefully
Responding to online complaints and proactively requesting reviews can be powerful ways to boost your online ratings. Yet, these methods are just one piece of the reputation and review management puzzle. Tracking reviews and other online threats on sites like Google, Yelp, and industry-focused platforms is critical to identifying and mitigating new reputation risks swiftly.
Showcase your expertise
Showcasing your expertise and thought leadership online doesn’t just position you as your area’s go-to financial services pro. It also solidifies your credibility, providing a reputational firewall of positive, professional content that promotes your value while helping to shield brand integrity from negativity and online threats.
So, how do you spotlight your credentials and bulk up your reputation in the process? These days, thought leadership is built online by sharing valuable insights and educational content through articles, blog posts, interviews, and videos across high-authority channels that support and elevate your position. By promoting your expertise through high-value content and doing so consistently, you can continually build and reinforce your industry authority while attracting new clients.
Building a positive reputation, especially in the financial services space, takes a commitment not just to prioritizing an exceptional client experience but proactively managing your online presence. Combining a robust client service model with a comprehensive approach to managing online reviews, profiles, and thought leadership is critical to cultivating the trust, loyalty, and business your advisory firm needs to thrive.